The Peace of Pie

Pieredux

From the desk of Teresa Jordan ~ “We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” David Mamet

Dessert plays a pivotal role in my life. Imagine my surprise when I became an adult and found out that this is not the case for everyone!

My grandparents were quite elderly. Being older when they had my dad they were very traditional in farming and household rituals. Dinner was a huge hot meal at noon with dessert; supper was a light meal in the evening with dessert. Then, oh happy day, if I happened to be there at 11 p.m., another lunch – with dessert. 

My other grandparents immigrated from Holland in 1951, so they ate far less pie but savoured plenty of rich Dutch desserts.

So, as you might well imagine, when people say to me, “I’m not that interested in dessert” or “I don’t have much of a sweet tooth,” I feel like they are speaking a foreign language that I just can’t understand.

Dessert to me represents a cozy kitchen with warm wood stove, a link to my grandparents, a way to fix any heartache. So we will set aside how this thinking has affected my relationship with extra weight, and just focus on how this particular lens makes me want to offer others the same comfort – and how ill-equipped I feel when a cookie does not make everything better for someone else. 

I think this is one of the great challenges of “adulting”- I know what I need to make me feel better, resolve conflict, feel appreciated and so I offer a big ole slice of pie to others whenever I can, but it is not always what they need. I have to set aside what I automatically would do based on all of my experiences and really need to take some space to understand what the other person needs to feel better, feel heard, feel noticed. 

I can’t default to a great Boterkoek when the person I want to connect with has never heard of it and really prefers dill pickles in a crisis. I have to set my automatic responses to the situation aside and try to understand what the other person needs. 

And further I have to, as an adult, know that a need for something completely different from what I need, is equally valid and OK. It takes a great deal of effort especially in the heat of the moment to move past relationship autopilot but I know it is so worth it – I know that when I have done it sort of well a relationship was made stronger. I also know that when people with whom I connect take the time to understand what I need in a conflict or crisis, I feel appreciated and heard. 

We are all so unique and everyone has a place at the table – it’s just that mine needs an extra fork for pie.

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